Trudeau offering Canadian Red Cross to help with Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout, says Canada will get 8M more Pfizer doses
Published Friday, April 16, 2021 12:24PM EDT
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday that his government is “standing by” to deploy the Canadian Red Cross to help with Ontario’s vaccination efforts.
“On vaccination in particular, Ontario has reached out for more support,” Trudeau said. “I can tell you today that we are standing by to deploy the Canadian Red Cross to help with their mobile vaccination teams.”
“This is about getting doses to people where the situation is most serious.”
The offer was made during a news conference late Friday morning, in which Trudeau announced that Canada will receive an additional four million doses of the Pfizer vaccine in May, followed by a batch of two million in June and two million in July.
At the same time, Canada is expected to get only 650,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine instead of the more than 1.2 million doses that was promised.
Trudeau did not mention how the new doses will be allocated. The Ontario government has repeatedly called for more supply as it struggles to contain the spread of COVID-19 variants.
Trudeau said on Friday that he has received a “draft request” from the Ontario government but did not go onto detail about what the request entailed.
“We're going to continue to work with them on whatever they need and we're going to continue to put forward ideas about how we think we can better help,” he said. “This is a moment all hands are on deck and we're all working together to get through this difficult third wave.”
A spokesperson for Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s office said that while the government “appreciates the Prime Minister’s offer,” the province’s priority is to obtain more doses of vaccine.
“While we appreciate the Prime Minister’s offer, unless it is matched with an increase in supply, we do not need the Red Cross at this time for the administration of vaccines in Ontario. We do not have a capacity issue, we have a supply issue,” Ivana Yelich said.
Ontario’s Solicitor General’s Office also said that the government has not made a “request of this nature” to the federal government.
“Our only request to the federal government at this time is a greater and more steady supply of vaccines.”
The Ford government has, however, put out a call to all provinces and territories for help with healthcare resources, specifically “the assistance of 620 professionals to support Ontario hospitals.”
The prime minister said that he has spoken with the mayors of Mississauga, Toronto, Brampton and Markham about how the third wave of the pandemic means for hospitals, schools and small businesses.
Multiple community clinics and hospitals in the Greater Toronto Area have had to pause vaccinations this week due to supply issues.
Previously, the federal government has deployed mobile health units that set up hospital beds in Toronto and Hamilton, and they have approved a request to have the Canadian Red Cross deployed to up to 27 long-term care homes as needed.
According to federal government figures last updated Wednesday, the province has received 4,852,885 vaccine doses to date.
As of Friday, Ontario has administered 3,644,038 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.